Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm Cleaning Up My Act...

To me, the line that divides the novice carver from the master carver is how clean he works. I'm referring to the carving itself. I have discovered that being focused on "finishing" each section of a carving before moving on makes for a much more efficient and much less frustrating carving session. A couple months ago I picked up a book that changed my way of carving. It's Tom Wolfe's "Carving Santas For Today". I have a fairly limited  Library of carving books, but this one seems unique to me. Tom uses almost the entire book to show you haw to carve one santa! Yes, there are a dozen or so pages at the end showing photos of  some other carving, but that's not what you  pay for when you get this book.

First, he does not work from a roughed out figure, but a simple square block. Second, he works very clean. He starts out with the ball on santa's cap and then to the cap. He pretty much finishes the cap and doesn't have to come back to it. This was for me a revelation and made me conscious of keeping each section I carved as free of "fuzzies" as possible as I progress through the carving.

It's not just about carving the one santa. I was able to take Tom's lesson and apply it to other carvings. That's a good  lesson.

[photo is of the first santa I carved using Tom's  lesson]

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